Bryce Courtenay

by |December 22, 2009

Once the madness of Christmas Day is over (I know it seems a long way away right now but it will all pass, trust me) you’ll need some quiet time to recover.

Now is the time to make preparations.

The men in your life, whether they be lover, husband, father or brother, will probably stretch themselves out on the couch and watch every boring minute of the Boxing Day test match.

Do not despair – help is near.

First things first – you’ll need a drink.

Then you’ll need to find a comfy spot to sit. You’ll want it to be far enough from the TV so that you are not disturbed by the incessant pock of the cricket ball, intermittent male grunts of joy or despair or the incessant droning of the dullards commentating and yet close enough to the boys, hopefully still in their peripheral vision, to be an ever-present visual complaint for being so grievously neglected.

Now that that’s done, you’ll need something to read.

If your pre-Christmas week has been unrelieved hell we recommend you reach for belly laughs or bloody murder.

You’ll need something strong to put out of your head the sound and images of screaming children running riot around the fine china department of David Jones or the haughty look the sales girl gave you when you’d discovered you’d left your purse in the shopping trolley at Woolies or the pathetic smile your husband wore on Christmas morning when handing you the poorly wrapped ironing board….

Whatever you doFor belly laughs you’ll need :

Marian Keyes, Ben Elton, Katie Fforde, Peter Allison, Jill Mansell.

The Private Patient And for bloody murder:

PD James, Nicci French, Kathy Reichs, Henning Mankell, Peter Robinson.

But if your Christmas was a great success – if the turkey was tender and moist, if the family did their best Brady Bunch impression, if the little box under the tree with your name on it contained what you hoped it would contain, if peace reigned supreme and love was all around… then you may like to celebrate with juicy saga, strong drama or a heart warming yarn.

lessons in hearbreakTry one of these authors…

Maeve Binchy, Di Morrissey, Erica James, Penny Vincenzi

Bryce Courtenay, Judy Nunn, Cathy Kelly

Or something a bit different Alex Miller, David Malouf, Muriel Barbery

And last but not least, a small selection of books for those who do not celebrate Christmas and who do not like Cricket, those who cannot be classed as Bah Humbugs because they are of a different faith, or are indifferent, or have integrity, but nonetheless are forced by Governmental decree to do nothing for two days in a row…

Being and NothingnessBeyond Good and EvilPhilosophy of the Boudoir

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About the Contributor

John Purcell (aka Natasha Walker) is the author of The Secret Lives of Emma trilogy published by Random House Australia. The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings reached the top ten on the Australian fiction charts and Natasha/John was the tenth highest selling Australian novelist and third highest selling Australian debut author in 2012. The trilogy has since sold over 50,000 copies in print and ebook and has been translated into French and Polish. John has worked in the book industry for the last twenty years. While still in his twenties he opened John’s Bookshop, a second-hand bookshop in Mosman in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Now he is the Head of Product and Chief Buyer at

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